AFTER a showery afternoon, it was a dry evening that greeted drivers, teams and fans as they gathered at HRP Lochgelly Raceway for the latest instalment of CHAMPIONSHIP FEVER where every Saturday fixture between now and mid-October features at least one championship event, writes our Raceway writer Les Waller.

This past Saturday was a Scottish Championship double header with the Back to Basics Bangers and 1300 Stock Cars both contesting their Scottish title events, while the CC Rods, ProStocks and Ninja Karts provided the support.

The Ninja Karts were first on track for their Whites and Yellows race with the lower graded drivers enjoying some track time without the more experienced drivers and higher points scorers bearing down on them – a great chance to take a trophy home!

Kieran Hay led the early stages of the race before a spin saw his chances evaporate – Hay was not the only one caught out by a patch of water going into turn one which saw a number of karts spin out.

Jake Wilson took up the lead and held on all the way to the finish with a dominant drive to take his second whites and yellows win in six days with Hay recovering for second and Hamish Plenderleith in third. The first official heat for the Ninjas saw two thirds of those whites and yellows joined on track by the blue and star graded drivers.

Jack Baird led the early stages of the race before Demi Ritchie took over at the front; Ritchie’s glory was short-lived though as she spun out (possibly another victim of that patch of water). This handed the lead to Bailey Millar who held his nerve to take the win from Kyle Johnstone and Rachel Kidd.

After losing ground in a clash with Lewis Duffy during heat one; Charlie Hardie made no mistakes in heat two as the World Champion took victory, but only just, from Kyle Johnstone who is absolutely flying at the moment as he took his second runners-up spot of the night ahead of Rachel Kidd who took a second consecutive third place trophy.

The last race of the night for the Ninja Karts was nothing short of fantastic with the drivers displaying skills that bely their tender years; Kyle Johnstone finally got the one he was after as he took a fantastic win as he kept Hardie and Wilson at bay to claim his first win of the night and set down an early marker for the upcoming Scottish Championship.

The Back to Basics Bangers had met with good turnouts during 2017 and, after drivers requesting more meetings for the formula in 2018; it was disappointing to see a low turnout for their Scottish Championship.

Joe Ewart slapped the wall early on which put paid to his challenge; but it was Martin Loggie who took his Peugeot 2006 to the big win as he powered away from the rest of the field to take the win from John Bell and Kenneth Scollon. That set the pattern for the evening’s two other heats as the same drivers finished in the same finishing positions.

However, the Demolition Derby was a different matter as Bell and Scollon fought it out for bragging rights with a couple of big head-on shots finally ending Bell’s challenge and Scollon took the win in fine style as he finished Bell’s car off with a big rear-end hit.

The CC Rods were back in action as part of a busy month for HRP’s low-budget, non-contact class but another decent turnout of cars provided some excellent racing action. The first heat started in the usual chaotic fashion; but Graham Campbell managed to hold on to the lead for a couple of laps before Brandon Gourlay took over at the front with Gary Paul and Shane Allen also in the mix.

Allen has upgraded his equipment of late and that showed as he made a fantastic pass on the outside line to take the lead and the race win with Davie McFarlane managing to take second by the end with Gourlay holding on for third. Heat Two was another excellent race and Allen was back at his old tricks as he took to the outside line; but he was unable to do anything about the Peugeot 106 of Gary Paul who took a flag to flag win with Allen having to settle for second this time with Lee Scott taking third.

The feature final was run under the HRP floodlights which always adds to the intensity and another cracking race ensued – Shane Allen looked good for another good result before pulling off with a car issue but that did not deter Ian Hotchkies who took his car to the front of the pack and held on despite some stiff competition from points leader Bob Cairns to take the feature win with Cairns in second and Brian Allen third.

The ProStocks were a last-minute addition to the programme but several drivers took advantage of the extra track time. One of those drivers was Scott Gordon who debuted a new Vauxhall Astra this past Saturday and he took that new car straight to victory lane with Dean Abercrombie and Kris Douglas rounding out the podium spots.

Heat Two saw Abercrombie go one better as he took the win from Gordon and Grumm Fleming after an excellent race. The feature race saw Kris Douglas streak away to a fantastic win with Abercrombie taking second and Fleming third. The ProStocks will be back in force this Saturday at HRP Lochgelly Raceway.

The 1300 Stock Cars were certainly the headline act this past weekend and fifteen cars arrived for their Scottish Championship although Craig Connelly did not make it on track. Zak Gilmour drew pole position for the big race with other pre-race favourites Andrew Mathieson on the outside of row two and defending champion Billy Wilson on the outside of row three. The green flag dropped and Gilmour shot straight into the lead while Mathieson quickly ended Wilson’s title defence with a big hit on turn four.

Wilson exacted his revenge quickly as he took Mathieson to the wall on turn two which eliminated both drivers from the reckoning. Gilmour continued on his way in a relatively trouble-free run to the chequered flag to take the Scottish Championship ahead of British Champion Paul Ford and Martin McCaffery. Two further heats saw more chaos (despite a few damaged cars being unable to make it back on track) with wins for Andrew Mathieson and Patrick Calderwood.

A highly-entertaining evening of action and attention now switches to Scotland’s top open-wheel stock car formula as the Superstox will contest their Scottish Championship this Saturday August 25. Defending Champion Bryan Forrest injured his thumb during the European Championship weekend – will he be able to try and make it three in a row?!? The 1300 Stock Cars, Stock Rods, ProStocks and Junior Productions will provide some great supporting action in a packed programme of events which begins at Scotland’s premier stock car venue, HRP Lochgelly Raceway this Saturday from 5:30pm.